Monday, 7 August 2017

New House, New Book - Japanese Stab Binding


Hello, my crafty friends. I hope everyone is well. Today, on the Paperartsy blog, I'll be showing you how to make a book using Japanese stab binding. Also, of course, using the gorgeous Hot Pick 1601 set of stamps.

I started off with 2 sheets of Smoothy Card and covered each with a layer of Squid Ink Fresco Acrylics. This layer doesn't really have to be painted carefully as we'll be painting over the top. Then make sure it's completely dry before continuing. Step 2 of this part is to thinly cover the painted card with some Crackle Glaze. I used a palette knife to make sure it was a really thin coat. Wait until it's completely dry again. For Step 3, I used different techniques on each sheet. I sponged Stone Fresco Acrylic on the first sheet, giving me delicate cracks on the top layer...

... then painted the same colour quite thickly on the other sheet which gave me stonking great fissures! I prefer the second one. It has fabulous texture, but I needed to stamp on the front cover so I wanted that to be smoother.

I stained around the edges of four separate pieces of mountboard with Vintage Photo Distress Stain - two cover pieces and two spine pieces. Then I set them aside to dry while I finished the covers. You could also use chipboard or Paperartsy's Grey/Whiteboard for this stage.

I used Versamark Ink and the small 'Home Sweet Home' stamp from the same set, then heat set some Ranger Embossing Powder (superfine) in Copper over the top. Oh, how striking does that look? Fab! Everything was just going perfectly...

... until I messed it up in superb style. I'd covered the embossed spine part with Post-it tape while I stamped the houses, beginning at the bottom (Ranger Archival Ink, Coffee.) At the top, I didn't want to only see the bottom of the houses, so I decided to take the 'Home' stamp and fill in the top. My mind had obviously wandered off for a coffee break without telling the rest of me and I stamped it upside down - CLANG!! 

As the great Ralph Steadman once said, "There's no such thing as a mistake." I always view these as creative opportunities and take a different route. Well, I wasn't about to start over! I die cut the words 'first' and 'home' from the offcuts of the covers and also from chipboard (Sizzix Tim Holtz die, Wordplay,) then stuck card to board,...

... went over each piece with Distress Stain (Vintage Photo). I used a paper stump so that I could control the amount of coverage as I still wanted to see the cracks,...

... then I went totally over the top (Who? Me?) and covered all of the letters in Ranger Crackle Accents.

Great decision, if you ask me.

I still had the problem of the upside down 'home'. I had to cover it as it would have been visible under the letter embellishments, yet I still wanted the cracks to show. So I gently dabbed Fresco Stone paint over the top with my finger. I kept doing that in very thin layers until I had a satisfactory result.

Now this was a test for me but, luckily, it worked out really well and is something I will do more in the future. I  stamped the large door from the set onto an offcut from the chunky crackle cover in Vintage Photo Distress Oxide then, because they stay wet a little longer, I covered it in clear embossing powder and heat set it. Wow! I'd like to pretend it was intentional but it was a complete fluke. 

I stuck a mountboard cover and spine piece to each painted cover, leaving 1/8" gap between the two to allow for movement. The spine will not move when it's finished, so the cover part needs to be able to open.

I punched the holes in both covers and also the pieces of cardstock (300gsm, Coffee) I was using for the pages. I used a Crop-O-Dile Big Bite to punch the holes but I would advise using a drill if you can. Then I practiced on a spare piece of board. Each set of three holes is called a 'station'. I started at the second station (from inside the middle page of the book out towards the cover) and worked my way to the far end.

I clamped everything together so that it wouldn't move. Each time the needle comes out of the a hole, wrap it around the spine and go back into the same hole, then onto the next. The thread, string, cord (or whatever you choose to bind with) will eventually pass through each hole three times. Don't worry if it looks like you've missed one, you will catch those on the way back down. At the ends, wrap the cord around the side of the book as well. This will provide the third run through that hole. Then you will easily be able to see where the thread should go next. When you reach the starting point again, simply tie the two ends off.

I chose 1.5mm leather cord to bind my book. Then I stuck the letters and the door in place.

I added shading to the outside of the embellishments with an Inktense pencil (Bark) and blended it out with a water brush.

Ta-daaaaa! One book for my daughter and her fiancé to photo-document their first house renovation. I can't wait to see it when it's full.

I realise this is a very long blog post, and I hope the 10 minutes with feet up was welcome. I will film a demonstration YouTube video to accompany this post very soon, so keep your eyes peeled on this blog.

Do have a go at different stitches for book-binding. It's very satisfying when things go according to plan ...*cough* ...eventually.

Love and peace,

Wendy x

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Monday, 31 July 2017

Zinski Vs. Tim Burton - Dark to Light/Contrast

Hello, my friends. I have a gorgeous birthday card to share with you today. I made it for my friend, Sarah. She loves all things Tim Burton, so I thought I would give one of ElenaZinskiArt's characters a bit of the Burton treatment. It's over on the PaperArtsy blog tonight for their Topic #10 (Dark to Light/Contrast)


I started with the background and blended Paperartsy Fresco Acrylics from Little Black Dress to Snowflake.


As long as you keep the brush moving, you can dry brush them together quite nicely. A little Drying Retarder mixed with the paint will help.

Then a little alteration. As she was, Elena's character was a little too cute for the Tim Burton look. So I stamped the flower from the last release (ZA08) then stamped again on some post it tape so that I could mask it off while I stamped the girl over the top.

I used Snowflake again to paint out the spots on her leggings. How serendipitous that the centre of the flower turned into her tummy!

A little painting with some Claret and London Bus and her spotty leggings turned into over-the-knee stripy socks.

Just needed to add the sentiment, a die cut (embossed with black ink and clear embossing powder) and the perfect birthday card, for Sarah, is done.

Love and peace,
Wendy x

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Monday, 17 July 2017

Awash With Aqua - PaperArtsy Blog

Hello friends! Today I'm going to share a star book with you. It's a seven-point star and each 'point' is made up of three parts. There's a lot of paper used here, but don't let that worry you. Once the components are prepared, it's really easy to put together - I promise!

I started, as I often do, with a masterboard (or two) using all of the aqua range of PaperArtsy Fresco Acrylics...

...although, in the end, I mainly stuck to Mermaid, Caribbean Sea and Beach Hut. I had a 6"x6" book in my  mind and decided that Heavyweight Smoothy Card would be perfect. That all changed in the end. 

As I mentioned, each 'point' of the star book is made up of three main parts. In my book, each part consisted of papers measuring 15", 13" and 11". All of these (already coloured) pieces are folded in half and joined at each end with double sided tape.

Then each outer section is completely adhered to the next to form the star shape. I brayered Fresco paints onto the large pieces, used Distress Oxides (Salty Ocean, Cracked Pistachio) on the middle pieces and sprayed Lindy's Stamp Gang (Starburst - Shabby Turbine Teal, Flat Fabio - Caribbean Blue) onto the small pieces. The overall size of the book finished up as 7.5"x5.5", which was determined by the larger section of each point.

I didn't have any aqua coloured ribbon for the closure so I stained some neutral seam binding with a combination of Peacock Feathers and Cracked Pistachio Distress Stains. Perfect!

I adhered the ribbon around the outside of the book with double-sided tape before I began the covers. I used Fresco brayered Smoothy Card, adding more interest and accents with masks and stencils from Emma Godfrey (PM006) and Kim Dellow (PS040), and smaller stamps from Elena (ZA15) with Ranger Archival Ink (Aquamarine). 

I adhered the painted papers around two pieces of mountboard to form the front and back covers.

And so, at last, the real fun begins. Using ElenaZinskiArt stamps from her new release (ZA13 & ZA15), I used Jane Davenport's bright watercolours in the same aqua shades. My reasoning was that I could use the same umbrella theme of aqua but they would look a bit different to the background if I used a different medium. Giving focal images the 'pop' they deserve is challenging when using a single colour scheme. Well, these  gorgeous new Zinski stamps deserve the biggest pop ever.

Finally, some doodling - my favourite thing to do. I used Prismacolor pencils to add definition to the focal images, Sakura Glaze pens on the flowers and dangles and highlights all over with a white Signo Uniball pen. All that was left to do was to adhere the covers securely with double sided tape and glue (those covers are staying put!)...

...and mat the pages and my very first star book was finished. 

I hope I've inspired you to try making a star book of your own. It really is much easier than it looks. Of course, the size, colour and embellishments are all down to you.

All this talk of Star Books is making me want a coffee...

Love and peace,

Wendy x

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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Mixed Up Mag Issue 7 Jun/Jul 2017

Hello, my crafty friends. I'm so happy to tell you that I have a tutorial in the latest issue of Mixed Up Mag.


In case you've never heard of it (in which case, where have you BEEN?), Mixed Up Mag is a wonderful online publication that is guaranteed to spark your creative juices, inspire you to try something new and excite the senses so much that you ditch the laundry and pick up your paints.

Issue 7 is a book-making special with several different ways to make your own books. And who doesn't love books? My tutorial (P54, if you're interested) is on making a coptic-stitched book. I made a sketchbook and liked it so much that I kept it for myself. Because I can.

Front cover

Mixed Up Mag is interactive and has articles that enable you to swipe photos for more views and even has embedded video tutorials to accompany the step-by-step written articles. My sketchbook tutorial comes with such a video. It's 40 minutes long, so Editor, Katy Leitch, advises you to get yourself a cuppa and relax while you watch it. I took it slowly (no sense in rushing, right?) so it's a bit easier to follow than some others.

Back cover

I hope you get a chance to take a look and I'd love to see anything that I may have inspired you to make. It's easier than it looks, I promise. 

See how to download this fab online mag here.

Love and peace,

Wendy x

Friday, 21 April 2017

The 100 Day Project Days 1-16

Hello lovely crafty folk! I've not been here for a while due to some rough times (I won't bore you with the details) but it's nice to be back with a lovely project to be a part of.

Back in February (I think) I signed up for The 100 Day Project. The only rules are that you pledge to create something every day for 100 days starting 4th April up to and including 12th July 2017 and post your project to Instagram with your personal hashtag, mine is #100DaysOfWendywitwoo, and #The100DayProject. Before the start date, I had to say what my personal project was called and what I was going to create.

As resting has been a large part of my day at the moment, I decided on Art Cards. They're only 4"x4" and so are very easy to complete.

Days 1 - 8 

For the first 8 cards, I used Gansai Tambi watercolours from Kuretake. They are super vibrant and include some pearl/metallic colours. I drew around the outside (when absolutely bone dry!) with a 0.05 Graphik pen from Derwent. I doodled with Stickles on all 8 cards, Liquid Pearls on some. I drew rock shapes on a few of the cards and used a water brush to lift some of the colour out. Then I just doodled with pens. 

Doodling is my happy place.

Days 9-16

The next 8 cards were screaming out for another style. I used a selection of Dina Wakley media paint and just applied them with my fingers (no brushes to clean!) I limited myself to two or three colours per card and blended directly on the cards with my fingers. When these were totally dry, I doodled like a doodly thing with black and white Posca pens.

And here ends days 1-16. The next 8 will be in another style again, but I can't guarantee no doodling.  I must confess, I've been doing them in batches, but who cares? Nobody. This is a no stress zone. 

Love and peace,

Wendy x

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Friday, 24 February 2017

ZinskiArt Release Part 2

Good evening friends. Are you ready for more fun? I had loads of fun with ElenaZinskiArt's new stamp sets from Paperartsy. I hope you do too.  

I played a lot with backgrounds this time. For my first one, I brayered Rose, Bora Bora, Tinned Peas and Haystack Fresco Acrylics onto Smoothy Card and then I used every small, round stamp from all of the stamp sets to stamp Snowflake on top to knock back the brightness.

ZA09, ZA10, ZA11, ZA12

It made a great cover for a small notebook. I just stamped some flowers and a strategically placed bird on the top and painted with the same four colours that I'd started with.

Just some shading with coloured pencils to add some dimension and it was done.

I used the same background behind these wee monsters having a house party.

ZN01, ZN06, ZN07, ZA09, ZA12 

I die-cut three windows and then fussy-cut the stamped and painted monsters so that I could have them hanging out of the windows. I then popped them onto some foam squares to add a little dimension. Elena's new flowers are so beautiful and are a joy to paint. I added some to the outside of the house party to represent a pretty garden and finished them off with some coloured pencil shading.

I think this stamp release lends itself so well to cards and there is just something very anthropomorphic about them. Be careful though, once you see it, it's really hard to un-see it!


What spectacular hats they have. Very 'Dr. Seuss'. They just needed some cute little faces. The large flower already even had a nose and one eye! I just added the stubble and he is now a kindly father figure. The flower on the right is laughing at something the middle has said or done that he really ought to be sorry for. Again, I painted with Rose, Bora Bora, Tinned Peas and Haystack and added South Pacific, Claret and Pumpkin Soup for dimension.

Another flower, another person...


Those springy leaves reminded me of hands or, more specifically, Jazz Hands! There was plenty of space to add a pretty little face and the flower top became another hat.

One of the flower 'hats' reminded me of something else. I used a Post-it note to mask everything else off so that I could just ink the part that I wanted. Then I used more to mask the ice cream cone so that I could stamp the scoops.

I mixed up the aforementioned Fresco Acrylics to produce the background on this ATC and also for the little monster and the scoops of chocolate, pistachio and raspberry ripple ice cream. 

ZA03, ZA10 

More backgrounds now and time for Gelli plate fun. Using the same four colours, I brayered onto a 6" x 6" Gelli plate and pulled a print. I placed a stencil over the top and pulled another print, then flipped that stencil and pressed onto the other print, so on one print the stencil was used as a mask and on the other, it was used as a stamp.

Very often, I find the second, or ghost print to have more interesting patterns and textures than the first. I can always find a use for monoprints and this time, I chose one of my favourite projects - a matchbox with a miniature book inside.

I squeezed a small blob each of Claret and Bora Bora onto a rip-off palette and sprayed some water over the top until it resembled ink. Then I smooshed both parts of a large matchbox into the colour (on all four sides of each) and set it aside to dry.

When the matchbox was completely dry, I added strips of washi tape to the outer sleeve and some of the ghost monoprint, on a mat, to the top. A carefully chosen monster was stamped and painted on the print. Then some doodling with black and white gel pens finished him off... 

...except for the miniature book. I used another piece of print as the cover and folded some copy paper to form the pages, then I secured them together with staples on the spine. I masked off the monster so that I could just print his legs and I extended them further with a black pen. Then I added a tag as a drawer pull and heat-embossed the perfect sentiment on top.

I stamped all of the flowers on the pages of the book and coloured with co-ordinating pencils. 

ZA09, ZA10, ZA11 

This has to be my favourite project of my time as ElenaZinskiArt's wingman. I try to find something to giggle at every day and this long-legged lovely made it easy. I have, of course, loved every other minute working with Elena, Leandra and Lauren. It's been nice to see alternative shapes and characters in the stamps.

I'm sure you'll find even more fun things to do with these stamps.

Love and peace,

Wendy x

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